CUPE’s Day at Word on the Street

The Word On The Street is a national celebration of literacy and the written word. On the last Sunday of each September, in communities coast to coast, the public is invited to participate in hundreds of author events, presentations and workshops and to browse a marketplace that boasts the best selection of Canadian books and magazines and swag you will find anywhere. There are children’s entertainers and entertainment, famous and up-and-coming authors delivering authors readings at Canada’s largest book and magazine festival.  Over 40,000 people attend each year.  All of the events are free!

Thank you, CUPE 391, for your talented and spontaneous support of Word on the Street.  Children’s programmers Michael Duff and Miranda Mallinson dropped by CUPE’s big tent on Hamilton Street and volunteered their services.  Michael accompanied his insightful musical and social commentaries on Old MacDonald’s farm with guitar (thoroughly fun) and Miranda dazzled with heart warming stories and finger-licking good puppetry.  Mischievous monkeys and hungry alligators abound in Miranda’s world. Member-at-Large Jane Curry, set designer Debra McGerrigle and photographer Lily Gee set the stage, engaged the public about the importance of keeping public services in public hands and our environment healthy and green.

Thank you to Heather Inglis, Robin Roff and Susan Zandor for all the carefully chosen literature for our tables.  CUPE is recognised for our literacy advocacy and as a small-to medium publisher in the public services realm.  And always, a big hand for Mark Hancock who unfailingly supports CUPE locals efforts to promote and preserve access to public service for all.

This is the first year that local municipal CUPE unions participated together under CUPE’s flags for Word on the Street. An enormous thank you to CUPE communications person extraordinaire, Janet Szliske for organizing the cost-share with our community-spirited CUPE locals 15, 389, 1104, our always participatory district labour council, CUPE Metro, and CUPE BC.

A truly exciting event took place at our Word on the Street spot.  We had a world premiere of Randi Gurholt-Seary of CUPE 15 (Remember the lemonade stand at Word on the Strike) and friend Diana’s marvelous street theatre, “United Nations – Rights of Children”.  Our two women had a spelling bee with brightly coloured and hand-lettered cardboard blocks.  Their outfits and hair were luminescent and sassy.  Each actor beautifully mimed their actions and delivered the messages, “Every child has the right to Health and Well-being, Safety and Education.  Children have the right to play and rest.”  Our audiences were formed from passers-by who stopped and were delighted by this ingenious and novel preformance.  CUPE community workers and early childhood development folk sure know how to deliver a powerful message in an entertaining way!

Also, many thanks to the wonder Walter Zicha from North Vancouver City Library.  Walter kept us organised and cheerful all day.  What a gift.  This wonderful man is also a children’s librarian and if he is in town the last Sunday of September 2011, Walter will be entertaining the children.  CUPE people are wonderful to hang with.  We freely share the blessings that public service bestows on us all.